WASHINGTON - The United States and Russia must find ways to work around their sharp differences and agree on approaches to Syria and other global trouble spots, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday as the two countries launched high-level talks.
US-Russia ties, deeply strained over Moscow's decision to grant asylum to former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, were "marked by both shared interests and, at times, colliding and conflicting interests," he said in Washington.
"We will discuss these differences today, for certain, but this meeting remains important above and beyond the collisions and the moments of disagreement," said Kerry.
Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel are hosting their Russian counterparts Sergei Lavrov and Sergei Shoigu for about five hours of so-called "2+2" strategic and security talks.
Kerry said it is critical that the two countries be clear about differences but also seek progress on missile defense, Afghanistan, nuclear disputes with Iran and North Korea and the two-year-old civil war in Syria.